Friday, May 5, 2017

Free Comic Book Day 2017 Guide

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day, so here I am with this year's edition of the FCBD guide! For those of you who have never participated, it may be helpful to have a few of the details clarified. Generally, FCBD goes something like this: You enter your local comic shop-- if you're unsure where the nearest one is, you can find out right here-- and the FCBD comics are displayed on a table or shelf, usually separate from the rest of the merchandise. Some shops place a limit on how many free books you can choose, while some let you grab as many as you like; it's all up to the owners of each store. Whatever the case, make sure to buy something while you're there, because while the comics are free to customers, the stores have to pay for them. They pay much less than they do for a normal comic, but it's still money out of their pockets.

FCBD grows each year, and so does the selection of free comics. It can be a little overwhelming, particularly with all the extra traffic most shops experience during the event. It helps to have a few key comics in mind that you're interested in. Lucky thing you happened across this, eh? (Of course, keep in mind that not every comic shop will have ordered every single comic. Generally, the majority will be offered, however.)

The owners of Hattiesburg's own Southern Fried Comics graciously allowed me to come by a few days early and read through this year's comics. Thanks to their generosity, I'm able to bring you a much more thorough look at this year's FCBD offerings! Let's start by taking a look at my top picks. 

Bongo Comics Free-For-All: Bongo's Simpsons comics are always great fun appropriate for all-ages, and this year's FCBD offering is no exception.

Secret Empire: This tie-in to Marvel's big summer event includes a twist I can't believe still hasn't been spoiled. It also includes a preview of the upcoming Spectacular Spider-Man series.

Wonder Woman: This is a reprint of last year's Wonder Woman #2, part one of the Year One story. It's not only a damn good comic, but a great introduction to the character for anyone interested in reading about her. If you're excited about the upcoming movie, definitely pick this up!

X-O Manowar: Valiant has been publishing some of the most consistently good comics available since their return several years ago, and this continues that tradition. Previews of several other Valiant series are also included.

World's Greatest Cartoonists: Fantagraphics has compiled a thick issue packed with short stories from a variety of creators, spanning several genres. If you're feeling like somethinf off the beaten path, pick this up!

Tex- Patagonia: Westerns used to be one of the most prominent genres in comics, but they have become increasingly rare over the years, so it's always nice to see more.

Keyser Soze- Scorched Earth: This prequel to the classic The Usual Suspects promises to be very interesting indeed! 

Betty & Veronica: Archie has completely revitalized their comics in the past few years, and this issue is a great sampler for anyone curious about what they're doing.

2000 A.D: The long-running British anthology is always interesting, and this year's FCBD offering is as great as ever.

The Incal: A thirty-page excerpt from the classic graphic novel by Moebius, one of the all-time greats. 

The Tick: It's the Tick! What more needs to be said?

Rick and Morty: The comic delivers the same subversive, biting sci-fi humor and adventure as the animated series. A must for fans of the show!

Star Trek: The Next Generation- Mirror Broken: I've never been a huge Star Trek fan, but even I found this interesting. A story set in the mirror universe, with evil versions of the ST:TNG protagonists, is a Trekkie's wet dream. Plus, it has Patrick Stewart in a tank top with a rockin' beard. What's not to love?

Catalyst Prime- The Event: a threat from space gives rise to a wave of superhumans in this story by Christopher Priest. It's an intriguing setup for a new universe of superhero adventures.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I haven't had much interest in the TMNT since I was 10 or 11, but this is an engaging issue that made me interested in checking out the ongoing series. 

KID-FRIENDLY COMICS

Spongebob Freestyle Funnies
DC Superhero Girls
Fresh Off the Boat
Loud House
Bad Machinery (more appropriate for older kids)
Colorful Monsters
Barbie
Monster High
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Explains what the CBLDF is, and why freedom of expression in print is important in a kid-friendly format.
Boom Studios' Summer Blast

Those are the comics that jumped out at me for one reason or another, but there are still more! You can peruse the full list of FCBD comics here. No slight is intended to the comics I didn't mention here; these are just the ones that stood out a bit more. Whatever you're interested in, the important thing is to support your local comic book shop tomorrow, and have fun! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rant Review: The Lego Batman Movie- Clayface Splat Attack

It's been about six months since my last post; that's easily the longest I've gone without updating the blog. It's due to various things, including some health issues which, unfortunately, are ongoing. I'll be making an effort to post more regularly, though, so the few dozen regular readers who are still here can rest easy. ;)

Today, we're taking a look at one of the sets from The Lego Batman Movie theme, Clayface Splat Attack. Unlike most sets, which tend to be focused around a building or vehicle, Clayface is the set. It's a great design, clearly influenced by the BTAS design, and the build is fun and well thought out. Clayface has an extra arm, so you're free to switch one out if you prefer two of the stud launchers
instead of the hammer arm. You'll also have plenty of small brown pieces left over that you can use to customize your Clayface a bit, which is a nice touch. (You'll have even more if you disassemble the arm you're not using! My Clayface, seen here, has quite a few bits added on. As always, click on the photo to embiggen.) With ball joints at all key connection points, Clayface is well-articulated, and he can hold a variety of poses. He is top-heavy, however, so you'll have to use a bit of finesse to find that sweet spot that will allow him to remain upright with some poses. The only issue I have with the final build is that some of the gray parts are clearly visible, which doesn't fit with the character's usual aesthetic. It would have been nice if these pieces had been cast in a shade of brown so that they didn't stand out so much, but that is a relatively minor gripe.

Batman and Mayor McCaskill minifigures are included, along with a small clay trap to ensnare a minifig of your choice. (This, of course, can also be disassembled if you want more little brown bits to add on to your Clayface.) McCaskill goes well with the GCPD minifigs in a display, and be aware that the small mark on her face isn't a defect, but a "beauty mark" that is supposed to be there. Aside from some slightly different facial expressions, Batman is no different than the numerous other Batman minifigs you already have if you've been buying the TLBM sets. It's a damn good minifg, and I like having some extras to pop into various displays, so I definitely don't mind getting another. Plus, you can hardly fault TLg for including Batman minifigs in their Batman sets!

Clayface Splat Attack is easily one of my favorite sets from the TLBM series to date, a standout in a fantastic lineup. Recommended.